I was never the girl who “always had a boyfriend.” No, before meeting Carlos, I was almost always alone (relationship-speaking). Though I had a lot of great friends in college, it was there that I started doing a lot of things by myself (taking day trips to the beach with my journal and Bible, going to new coffee shops around Orange County, etc.). I saw it as a challenge, and a way to get to know myself better before that elusive moment of meeting my future spouse would (hopefully) come. I didn’t need anyone, I told myself.
I didn’t think much of it when I flew to Peru, alone, the summer before my senior year at Biola to do my ICS internship. Or when I decided to move to Ireland for a year after college, without knowing anyone. Those years of doing things by myself had paid off-I knew myself, and knew that, even if I was scared out of my mind, traveling abroad alone and moving to a new country alone would be something I would be able to do. I didn’t need anyone else.
It was ironic, then, that 2 days after I got to Ireland, ready for my year-long solo adventure, I met Carlos.
Right away, Carlos showed me where to shop for the cheapest groceries in Dublin, the best websites to look for jobs and roommates, what areas of Dublin to avoid, and what bus numbers went where. He went with me to my first job interview and waited with me at immigration for my visa. After just a few days of knowing him, I somewhat reluctantly admitted to my “independent” self: I may not need him, but he makes me better.
And that’s how things have been with Carlos for these last 4 years. He was steady and assuring during our year of long-distance when I was an emotional wreck. He helped me find a roommate in Saltillo before I had even moved. When I did move, he, not surprisingly, had to teach me a lot of things he had taught me in Ireland: where to shop for the cheapest groceries, where to look for jobs, and what areas of Saltillo to avoid. He accompanied me to my job interview at Berlitz and has gone with me numerous times to immigration. On top of that, he has taught me countless Spanish expressions and vocabulary and never complains about my complicated questions about Spanish grammar. He researched and negotiated and planned things for our wedding, and looked for and found our current house.
I would like to think that after so many years of wanting to live in Mexico and because of my experiences abroad, that I would have been able to make a life here for myself even if I hadn’t have known Carlos. But if I’m honest, I don’t think that would have been possible. And that doesn’t make me weak or dependent or less of a person.
I may not need him, I remind myself, but he makes me better.